You’ve heard the advice before: to save energy cooling your home, setback the temperature on the thermostat (i.e. set the temperature higher) during times when you’re not home or during the evening when people are asleep. The standard recommended setback temperature is 8°F. For example, if you keep the thermostat set to 78°F during the day when people are in the house and awake (this is a setting the US Department of Energy advocates for the best combination of energy savings and comfort), then the setback temperature would raise it to 86°F. If you own a programmable thermostat, you can have the setback as the standard evening/away setting and then not have to think about adjusting the temperatures after that.
Thermostat technology has advanced rapidly over the last decade, and you may have heard contrary advice: thermostat setback isn’t useful and won’t save money. But this is wrong for a number of reasons. Let’s look at why the thermostat setback is still a basic way to save money on cooling costs.
Smaller Temperature Difference Means Less Heat Gain
A fact people often don’t know or don’t remember about heating and cooling in their home: the larger the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of a home, the faster heat moves from one to the other. The cooler the interior of your house in summer, the faster outdoor heat moves in to fill up that thermal void. When you program a setback temperature for your AC, you slow down the amount of heat gain for a house—and you won’t need to run the AC as much. If you’re away from home and keep the AC running on the lower setting, it has to do much more work to keep the house cooled because the heat gain is faster, and this is costly.
Setback Temperatures Prevent the AC from Running Too Long
Keeping the air conditioner at the lower setting all the time isn’t a recipe for more or faster cooling power. It only keeps the air conditioner’s compressor working for longer to reach the target temperature. If you aren’t home, you don’t want the AC putting in work to reach a lower temperature you don’t need anyway. The setback balances out the temperature so it’s easy for you to cool down the home by 8°F when you come back, and the air conditioner won’t have to continue to run without any benefit the rest of the time.
How Much Can Setback Temperatures Save Me?
It’s different for each home and each air conditioning system. A setback temperature on the thermostat isn’t a guarantee of savings. However, studies have shown that on average, a correctly sized air conditioner will cost between 5% to 8% less to run thanks to thermostat setback temperatures. Factored over many summers of cooling, this is a significant amount saved—all from something as basic as a single thermostat programming change.
To find out more about optimal air conditioning in Van Nuys, CA, our expert are glad to help.